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Can you grow with the old playbook post this Crisis?

Updated: May 5, 2020

Groupe SEB, a French Multinational, turned the electric fryer market on its head. A market that was shrinking by 10% year-on-year. They made their new and innovative electric fryer – Actifry - a market leader where the demand outstripped supply and the product went on to become their greatest successes ever with Euro 1 Billion world-wide sales per annum.

Another story. Wawa was a convenience store operator, fuel retailer and foodservice provider – rolled into one. In 2009 Howard Stoeckel, its then CEO, saw Wawa drifting into a red ocean. The economy was tough after the global financial collapse, and competitors were catching up to Wawa. There were really two choices. Continue to compete in the existing market or disrupt the market by reinventing themselves.

The current setup of Wawa meant it was perceived that fuel-station can’t be a high-quality food restaurant. So, they had to change this perception and create a leap in value and in the quality at the best possible price. They reinvented themselves Wawa from a convenience store and gas station that also sells food, to a leading quick-service restaurant and leader in the fast-casual-to-go space that also sells gas and convenience items. In the process they also created a brand called “Restaurant-to-go”.

The Result: By 2017 Wawa was the 34th largest private company in the US, with 625 million customers and sales of $10.5 billion (double from 2009). Where the average 7-Eleven convenience store (their closest competition) grosses $30,000-$35,000 per week, Wawa averages $116,000.

So, what is common between the two stories that played out in two different continents and in two different industries.

1. Both the companies reinvented themselves and achieved exponential growth in the process.

2. They did so, amidst global slowdown and shrinking market shares, and

3. Most important, they used Blue Ocean Process and Tools to achieve these great feat

A typical Blue Ocean Move process is very structured and takes firms through a proven process towards exponential growth. The process can be captured in 5 clear steps:

1. Select the right scope for your blue ocean initiative and build your people’s confidence

2. Next, get very clear about the current state of play

3. Identify the hidden constraints that you can turn into opportunities

4. Go from the big picture to creating practical blue ocean growth options

5. Launch your blue ocean move

There are a set of tools and templates to assist in the process.

Now, the key question is - is it applicable to you? Yes. Can you do it? Of course, yes. Is the right time? Yes. Yes. Yes.

As Howard Stoeckel said “..there is no better time to apply the principles of Blue Ocean Shift.”

If you are still not sure, you can also take a short survey to see if Blue Ocean will be useful for you. Reach us at

Do you need to have the right mindset to achieve this. Yes again. Watch this space.


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